Epic. Cake. Fail.

This was the first recipe to try from the Cake magazine I mentioned here.  It’s the Brown Sugar Pound cake.

Two things happened here.  First, when I was measuring the ingredients I measured five cups of flour.  Once ready to eat it was so bland and just plain, gah.  I have never made a cake that turned out tasteless.  So, I looked back at the recipe.  Oh.  I was supposed to put in three cups of flour (the magic number five was for the eggs).  Oops.  But, still, even if I had just put in the minimum of three cups, I think it would have still tasted, gah.  Oh, and here’s a tip.  When you use too much flour the cake never cooks all the way through.  After two hours — no exaggeration here — I finally took the cake out.  Nice burned edges, and ooey gooey raw batter in the middle.  Gah.

Second, the icing.  No where in the recipe does it say ”WAIT TILL CAKE IS DONE” to start making the icing.  It was a dreamy caramel sauce.  But when the cake was ready to be drizzled with the heavenly sauce, this is what happened:

Triple, gah.   I was determined to get the damn icing on.  So, with my Spackle tool I applied the icing.  Which is as illustrated in photo A.

I cut a slice and had Earnie eat it.

Earnie in her nice, Southern gal kinda way said it wasn’t too bad, but not the best I have ever made.  So, down into the trash went five cups of flour, 5 eggs, 2 sticks of butter, about nine cups of sugar, and my pride….

The end.

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

Awesome slow cooker recipe for Chicken Parmesan from Full Bellies.  I started with Six Sisters Stuff and visited their recipe index and found 25 slow cooker recipes.  They also have tons of freezer meals that you prep in a gallon zip lock then throw into your slow cooker.  Yummy.

So last night I made the chicken parm.  It smelled so good.  Only took 4 hours on high.  Layers of chicken, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce.  It was pull apart, juicy and the perfect comfort food.  I served it with whole wheat spaghetti, grilled zucchini (ala Mrs. Burdette), and steamed lemon broccoli.  Earnie deemed it the best dinner she’s had at Windwood in quite a while.

Check out both sites for delish recipes.  Have a fab Friday.

Nailing it for Spring

A reader asked me to comment on nail colors for spring.  Thanks, Mrs. Hubbard!  I always love reader suggestions.

Dear Mrs. Hubbard,

You can do anything you want with your nails.  From sherbet colors to neon, to ombre touches — everything is in style. 

I am in love with Anne Hathaway right now.  She exudes class and style.  Back at the Golden Globes awards I zoomed in on her nail polish:

White nails with butterfly appliques.  She was a Loreal featured star for red carpet makeup, so I have a feeling these appliques are from Loreal.  Chic.

Here she is before Les Mis hair coordinating her dress with her nail polish.

I dig her short hair-do.  I think I am going to get mine cut like hers.  Maybe I’ll have a better chance of winning an Oscar if I do it.  I could be discovered in the Rosemary’s Baby movie re-make.

Ok, moving on…

My new nail polish discovery is from Cover Girl.

Claiming it lasts for one week, I’d have to say it lasted a few days MORE than that!  I usually paint my nails on Saturday night, then have to re-do them by Wednesday.  Not this past week.  It lasted from Saturday to Monday of the following week!  Love it!

I found a coupon in a magazine for $3 off two bottles.  It retails for $5.99 a bottle.  Right now CVS has it buy one, get one 50% off.  You basically get one bottle fah-ree!  Great deal.  54 shades of loveliness. From clear to black with every color in between.  Today, I am sporting a sporty coral color.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Your faithful bee,

HRH

Nanny McMeow

This is what I looked like this morning at 3:08 a.m. when I was awoken by Oreo, the cat (also known as Yo-Yo, cra-cra, Orie).  She was crying for literally 20 minutes.  When I finally got out of bed (of course no one else got out of bed), I found her at the bottom of the steps looking up at me.

She’s not the friendliest of cats.  She was a stray that I served as a nurse mid-wife to her when she popped out a litter of deceased kittens on my lanai.  But, last night, she let me pick her up and she immediately started purring.  I noticed the pads of her feet were really cold.  I held her for about 10 minutes, rocking her back and forth on the steps.  I’m sure if Mr. Bee has woken and saw me “rocking the kitty” he would have finally admitted his wife was cra-cra, too. 

During that moment I thought about all the times I got up with Miss Bee.  Caring for her when she was sick or spraying the room with “Witch Spray” and wishing I could get a good night’s sleep.  She doesn’t need me as much lately.  The house was quiet.  It was just me and cra-cra bonding.  Then, she was done.

I went back to bed which then disturbed all the other cats. As I drifted off to sleep, with one of them waving their tail across my face, I remembered Nanny’s quote I sometimes use on Miss Bee…

 
“There is something you should understand about the way I work.
When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay.
When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.”
Nanny McPhee

 

Say “I Do” to Tres Leches Cake Parfaits

I wanted to share a recipe for Tres Leches Cake parfaits.  For the bridal shower I helped co-host, I volunteered to make the dessert.  I knew Tres Leches cake was the bride’s favorite, but I didn’t want to serve it the usual way, sliced on plates with a fork.  So, I made parfaits.

I used a Martha Stewart recipe for Tres Leches Cake.  I baked it the night before the party and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  A few hours before the party, I made the whipped cream and assembled the parfaits in small, stemless wine glasses.

At the bottom of each glass I put a small dollop of whipped cream, then a small square of cake, more whipped cream, another square of cake, topped with whipped cream.  I sprinkled a garnish of toasted coconut and a touch of nutmeg.  I found a set of adorable bride and groom cupcake toppers and stuck them in the center of the dessert. 

Who can resist saying “I do” to this dessert?!  Oh, so, fab.

Travel themed Bridal Shower

My co-workers and I sent off one of our own to be married to her beloved.  She spent most of this past year traveling from Texas to Florida to be with him.  So we decided a travel-themed shower would be fun.

We used a vintage suitcase and a small bouquet of flowers with a tag for the front porch decor.

In the living area, where guests gathered, we featured a map mounted on foam board.  Since her shower was on Valentine’s Day we googled cities in the US with a Valentine them in the name and made little hearts and attached them with red and white push pins — Candy Town, Ohio; Lover, Pennsylvania…

 
We filled a vintage suitcase and hat box with travel themed gifts, maps and tour guides for the table centerpiece.
 


Refreshments were Kale and Goat Cheese empanadas, melon prosciutto skewers, Havarti and apricot bruschetta and tres leches cake parfaits.  Small bottles of Perrier featured straws with “yes” flags.

 
 
What shower wouldn’t be complete without a game?  We contacted the groom-to-be to answer questions about the bride and she had to guess — Newlywed Style — the answers.  It was a lot of fun!
 


Easy, easy appetizer for spring

I helped host a bridal shower for a co-worker recently.  When I saw a recipe for Kale and Goat Cheese Empanadas, I knew she would love them.

They are super easy to make and very yummy.  Check out the latest issue of Oprah magazine for this and other recipes, including brownies made with just a jar of Nutella, eggs, flour and salt!

I doubled the recipe.  I took two bunches of Lacinato kale and washed and chopped the greens.  Mix in salt and pepper then saute them in olive oil, I didn’t measure but about 3 tablespoons would do it for doubling the recipe.  After about 4 minutes of sauteing, put the greens to the side to cool.  Once cooled, I added one cup of crumbled goat cheese.

Then you take refrigerated pie crust dough.  I didn’t do it like the recipe said because I needed more than 8 empanadas per recipe.  So I took my Martha Stewart biscuit cutters and made 16 cut outs from each disc of dough.  I took about a pinch full of the kale mixture, put it in the center of the dough circle, wet the edges with a little water and sealed the edges by pinching them off.  This method yielded 32 bite-sized empanadas.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden.

You can make these ahead, cover with a damp cloth and foil.  Then bake when you need them later in the day.  Easy. Easy.

Peeling Back Time

On a recent visit to my doctor for a check up, I mentioned to her I was dismayed that my skin was finally betraying me with “dark spots.”  I guess I’ve done pretty well if I am just a few years shy of my 50th birthday and have gone this long with having no signs of sun damage.

Earnie used to keep me slathered in Pre-Sun, which I remember burning like hell upon application.  Maybe I was getting my own version of a chemical peel when I was five.  Hey.  She did me a favor. 

My doctor recommended a chemical peel.  When I researched the cost, I just couldn’t justify the expense even though I know it would probably yield fantastic results.  I went for an at-home version.
Kate Sommerville has a Clinic-to-Go resurfacing peel kit. 16 individually packaged, pre-treated wipes.  You peel the tabbed cover off, place your fingers in the glove-like pocket on the back, rub it on in a circular motion.  Wait two minutes, rinse off with water, then follow with moisturizer.  You are supposed to do this twice a week for four weeks.  You can follow up a few months later and use the rest of the box.  At $48 for a box of 16 pads, your basically paying $24 per peel.
The pre-moistened pads have all sorts of natural ingredients in it such as sage extract.  It makes your skin feel very tingly, especially the first few times you use it.  I noticed no redness or irritation afterward, other than two weeks into it, I am noticing a little peeling of my skin.  Which means it’s working.
I am peeling back time.
* I am not receiving any endorsement for this product.  I am just always looking for ways to look younger.  A girl can dream.


Valentine’s Day — The Dish on Candy


Behind Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day is my second most favorite holiday.  I love red, pink and white.  I love valentine cards.  The last tip I suggested was on how to make your lips pretty for kissing.

Tip #2 is to always have a dish of Valentine’s candy out for guest enjoyment.   Last year I found Gimbal’s Cherry Lovers candy at CVS.

 They are just like sour cherries only in heart shapes with flavors like cherry vanilla, black cherry, cherry cheesecake, cherry cola, cherry daiquiri and cherry cola.  They look so pretty in my milk glass candy dish. Buzz over to Eighteen 25 for their free, down loadable subway art.  I purchased a frame for my desk at work specifically to interchange their subway art to celebrate the seasons.

 

Her Pink Legacy

At work yesterday I took a group of ladies for a tour of the Mary Kay Museum at the Mary Kay World Headquarters in Addison, Texas.  Mrs. Mary Kay Ash took a $5,000 investment in 1963 and built a 2.2 billion dollar business while along the way changing countless lives of men and women across the world.

I snapped a few fun photos…

I have a thing for oil paintings of people.  I love them.  You know when you go to estate sales and the owner has portraits on the walls of their children.  I always wonder about the people in the paintings, what their lives were like.  The stories they could tell.

I thought the names of these fragrances were funny…Jan and Snare.  Who’s Jan?  And, if I wear Snare, surely Chad Everett would have noticed me when I visited Medical Center.

Another oil painting and the pink, round ottoman.  I want it!  Why pink?  In the ’60s, most American bathrooms were white.  So pink was chosen for the Company’s packaging to give women beauty products they could keep conveniently on their bathroom counters.

Forty was fatal in 1963.  Now, I think most women wearing Mary Kay for the last 50 years wish they looked 40.

Mary Kay’s encouraging words are displayed just outside her museum.  The feathered frock I would wear on sandwich night at home.

Mary Kay’s Golden Rule, which was the primary principle on which she founded her company, is still very relevant today:

“Praise people to success.  Place God first,
family second and career third.”
— Mary Kay Ash